2 Black Shoplifting Suspects Critically Wounded by Oly Cop

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Officer Involved Shooting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date of Release: May 21, 2015
Contact: Paul Lower
Public Information Officer
360.753.8410
plower@ci.olympia.wa.us

Thurston County Critical Incident Team Investigating

At about 1:00 am this morning, Olympia Police responded to a call from the Westside Safeway store at 3215 Harrison Avenue West.  Store employees reported that two black men had attempted to steal beer and, when confronted by employees, threw the stolen items at them then fled.  As police investigated the matter, an officer found two men matching the suspect descriptions a short distance away.  A few minutes later, the officer [35yo Ryan Donald] notified dispatch that he had been involved in a shooting.  [Witnesses claim neither suspect was armed. Each had a skateboard, but protesters have argued those are not ‘weapons’. Donald was NOT injured. He reportedly called in to say he was being assaulted by a suspect with a skateboard.] Two men were shot by the officer.  Preliminary reports indicate the men were both shot in the chest.  Both men were transported to St. Peter’s Hospital in critical condition.  Both men are in their twenties and believed to be from the Thurston County area.

The officer, who has been an officer for 3 years, has been put on administrative leave while the incident is investigated, following Olympia Police Department policy.  The Thurston County Critical Incident Team is investigating the shooting.  The Critical Incident Team is composed of detectives from five local agencies.

[Donald, 35, who is on administrative leave pending the investigation, has been with the department for just over three years. No residents have filed complaints against him, and he was recently recognized by the agency for being proactive on investigations, Roberts said. He worked previously as an Army police officer, the chief said.]

More details will be released as they are available.  An initial briefing for the media will be at 6am at the Olympia City Hall Council Chambers, 601 4th Ave E.  A second briefing is anticipated at 10am this morning.

Officer Involved Shooting – Follow Up Information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date of Release: May 21, 2015
Contact: Paul Lower
Public Information Officer
360.753.8410
plower@ci.olympia.wa.us

Explanation of the Investigation Process Scheduled for 3pm at Olympia City Hall Council Chambers

The investigation of the officer-involved shooting by the Thurston County Critical Incident Team.  The two men who were shot have been identified as Andre Thompson (age 24) and Bryson Chaplin (21), who are step-brothers and both from Olympia.  The Critical Incident Team has identified a number of witnesses who detectives have interviewed, although details of those interviews are not yet available.

Another press briefing will be given at 3pm at Olympia City Hall.  Brad Watkins, Chief Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputy, will explain the investigatory process of the Critical Incident Team.

The City has established a webpage to keep our community informed about the investigation and to disseminate information as it becomes available.  Also located on the website are the Department’s policies, video and audio recordings as they become available, and information about public meetings.

Several community forums to discuss the event are being planned.  Details will be available soon on our website.  Minor, peaceful demonstrations have occurred throughout the day with no disruptions.  The City of Olympia appreciates the community’s patience as the investigation continues to unfold.

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Message from Chief of Police

Olympia, WA (8-1-12) — Chief Ronnie Roberts sent the following message to neighborhood associations in Olympia as an introduction to the newest members of the Olympia Police Department (OPD).

Over the last year we have been feverishly working to hire officers to fill vacancies left by retirements and resignations.  I wanted to introduce you to some of our new officers.

Officer Ryan Donald is out of the Academy finishing his last rotation with his PTO.  Officer Ryan Donald was born in Frankfurt Germany in 1980.  He grew up in a military family.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army Military Police Corp. just after September 11, 2001.  Officer Donald was stationed in Germany after receiving his basic training.  He has completed two deployments to Iraq and one to Kosovo.  After returning to the states he was stationed in Arizona where he worked with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.  Officer Donald left the military after eight years and was employed as a Loss Prevention Officer before being hired with the Olympia Police Department.

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Westside Olympia Safeway

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You Can Leave Your Hat On Sax Invitation

There’s always something about music that keeps life interesting. Given plans here are to play sax for an all girl dance troupe upon arriving in Heaven (being optimistic), interested ladies wishing to aid/abet the filming and sax playing sax accompaniment for this number are invited to drop/leave a note/comment w/contact info.

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Shelton Cop Brutalizes Steven Spangler/Smith

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Steven Spangler/Smith

by Freda Spangler

Shelton, WA (4-26-15) — Ok I have had A LOT of people ask what happened to my son..I have been given permission from our attorneys to post..I said I would leave the police officer’s name out of it..but he asked why? So here goes..feel free to share!

I live in a small community–Shelton, Washington. My son Steven failed to check in one week with his DOC officer…at which time a warrant for his arrest was issued. He was looking at 30 days! On April 25th [It was the 26th in the wee hours.] the car my son was riding in was pulled over..my son decided to jump out and run…officer Robert Andrew Auderer [graduated from BLEA ~ 6/2012, DOB: 12-27-76] began a foot pursuit..at which time he decided to taze him..he was tazed in the back of his neck where it meets the hard part of your skull!

My son was on the ground rendered UN-moveable when officer Robert Andrew Auderer decided to stomp on my son’s head..breaking his eye socket, cheek bone and nose..he even put in his report that he punched my son in the side.

MY SON WAS NOT FIGHTING…SO I ASK WHY???? The reports say my son was taken to Mason General for “minor” injuries. I was denied 3 visits with my son! And then on April 28th my son was transported to the Harborview trauma center in Seattle for those said minor injuries! Yesterday he had face reconstruction surgery at Harborview where the plastic surgeon put metal plate and screws in his cheek fixed his eye socket and nasal passage..he is recovering now!

This saddens me, that we have a police officer in our town that thinks he can get away with this!!! Look what’s happening..Ferguson…Baltimore..at least I get to still hug my son!!! Police BRUTALITY needs to stop now!!!

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officer Robert Andrew Auderer

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7639 10th Way, SE, Lacey, WA.  98503 (recent residence belonging to Dennis & Dianne Auderer, parents?)

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Robert Andrew (‘Andy’?) Auderer, 920 east bay dr, ne, apt 1c101, Olympia,WA 98506?

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1019 Fir St Se, Oly 98501

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Portland Woman Rejects Suitor w/a Bat

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Haley Fox, 24, of Turner, Ore., has been charged with assault for allegedly beating her online boyfriend in the head with a bat at their first meeting. (Photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

by Andrea Cavallier

Portland, OR — A woman in Oregon has been charged with assault after she allegedly surprised a longtime online ‘boyfriend’ during their first face-to-face meeting  by beating him in the head with a bat.

According to Q13 in Seattle, 26-year-old Samuel Campbell had traveled from Alabama to Oregon to live with 24-year-old Haley Fox. Their relationship began online in 2013.

When he arrived, Fox led him to an outdoor table where Fox poured him some wine, according to court documents. Then asked Campbell to close his eyes, as if to present him with a surprise. That’s when “things took what could have been a deadly turn,” the sheriff’s office said.

While Campbell’s eyes were closed, she took a metal baseball bat and bashed him in the back of his head three times, court documents say.

The man suffered a fractured skull and required nine staples to his head. He has been released from the hospital.

Fox reportedly told investigators she injured Campbell because she didn’t want to be his girlfriend. She has been charged with assault.

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Teen’s Mom Sues School Board Over NRA T-Shirt Arrest

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by Jessica Chasmar

Logan, W. VA — A West Virginia mother is suing the Logan County Board of Education for violating her teenage son’s constitutional rights after he was charged and suspended for wearing an National Rifle Association T-shirt to school.

Tanya Lardieri filed the lawsuit in federal court on behalf of her son, Jared Marcum, who was charged in 2013 for disrupting the educational process and obstructing a police officer after he refused to turn his NRA T-shirt inside out, EAGNews.org reported.

A judge later dismissed the charges, but the school still forced Jared to serve a one-day suspension.

“The shirt was an un-alarming olive green tee shirt bearing the NRA logo, which is the letters ‘NRA’ in black, the words ‘PROTECT YOUR RIGHT,’ an image of a hunting rifle and the officials NRA logo which has an eagle and two cross firearms,” according to the lawsuit, obtained by the Charleston Gazette.

The lawsuit names several school board members, the school district superintendent, several teachers and staffers at Logan Middle School, as well as the principal and the school itself.

The lawsuit claims that Jared was waiting in the lunch line in the school’s cafeteria when he was physically stopped by school secretary Anita Gore, who placed her hand on his chest and prevented him from moving forward, The Logan Banner reported.

The lawsuit says Ms. Gore told Jared that he had to turn his shirt inside out or face suspension. After the teen refused, teacher David Burroway hauled him off to the principal’s office by his arm, according to the lawsuit, The Logan Banner reported.

The teen was later charged with obstruction of justice because he refused to keep quiet after the officer ordered him to stop talking.

The family is seeking $200,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages for alleged violations of Jared’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, EAGNews.org reported.

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PROLOGUE:

A West Virginia eight-grader was arrested and charged with two counts of obstruction and disturbing the education process Thursday after he wore a National Rifle Association T-shirt to school.

Jared Marcum, a 14-year-old student at Logan Middle School in Logan, reported to 13 News that his NRA T-shirt with a picture of a gun on it ignited a dispute between him and a teacher that ended in his arrest.

“I’m still confused, thoroughly confused,” he told the station. “The school didn’t even make a statement to the news agencies, much less myself.”

The school would not comment on the matter. The Logan County School District’s dress code policy, however, prohibits clothing that displays profanity, violence and discriminatory messages, but it doesn’t mention anything about weapons, the station reports.

“They gave me no paperwork; all they said to my mother was not to bring me back to school the next day,” Jared said.

Jared’s attorney, Benjamin White, told the station that first they’ll be working on getting the charges dropped. Then, they’ll plan on filing any federal or civil suit that is in order.

“No matter all the attention, I have a genuine fear for my son,” Jared’s father, Allen Lardieri, said. “I do not know where his future lies. He has criminal charges, he has a bright future, this could do a lot to damage that.”

“I will go to the ends of the earth,” he added. “I will call people, I will write letters, I will do everything in the legal realm to make sure this does not happen again.”

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Public to Serve as Guinea Pigs for Robotic Cars?

Google purpose-built robot cars tested on public roads

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Google’s purpose-built robots cars are getting the green light to drive on public roads.

This summer some of the self-driving cars will be tested on the roads around Mountain View, California, where the search giant is based.

Before now, the small vehicles have only driven on test tracks and have not mixed with regular traffic.

Google has tested autonomous vehicles on public roads but all of them have been heavily modified Lexus SUVs.

The robot cars will not be completely autonomous, but will have safety drivers on board who can take over if needed.

“Every moment has been building towards putting these cars on the roads where we can start learning even more from them,” said Jaime Waydo, systems engineer in the self-driving project, in a video released to accompany the announcement.

Eventually the purpose-built robot vehicles will not have a steering wheel or any other control though detachable versions will be used during the forthcoming road tests. The top speed of the cars will be capped at 25mph (40km/h) during the tests.

In preparation for their public debut, said Ms Waydo, the cars had been put through a series of demanding reliability and durability tests. Each vehicle has been clocking up thousands of miles each week on the test tracks – some of which resemble Californian highways and streets.

Mixing with real-life traffic will help Google engineers refine the on-board software to cope with many situations the cars have not encountered during testing, said project head Chris Urmson in a blog post.

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The UK has funded four projects to try out driverless cars

“Getting these cars out in to the public and allowing people to react to them, allowing us to see them out there, that’s a huge deal and most importantly it’s the necessary step to getting them to drive themselves,” he said.

In addition, said Mr Urmson, the public test would let Google gauge how other road users react to the robot cars.

Figures released earlier this week show that four out of the 48 self-driving cars tested on public roads in California have been involved in accidents in the last eight months. The car makers involved, Google and car parts maker Delphi, said the bumps were the fault of humans in other cars.

The Google cars involved in these earlier tests are modified Lexus SUVs rather than the purpose-built robot cars.

News about the public road tests came soon after Google announced a new prototype of its pod-like autonomous vehicle.

In the UK, the government has put cash behind four projects that will test robot cars on public roads in Greenwich, Coventry, Bristol and Milton Keynes.

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Entombment: Contemporary Torture American Style

Like the treatment we afford our animal cousins, the treatment of prison inmates closely correlates to how the population in general is treated, both by our government which behaves as though its constituents are the ‘enemy’ and by each other. (See the article about the Philadelphia MOVE commune posted recently herein.)

Inmates in the federal ‘supermax’, et ux, are effectively ‘blinded’, forced to endure prolonged sensory deprivation, forever confined in unnaturally tiny spaces, and have their daily fate indefinitely determined by those with the most pronounced conflict of interest, their persecutors rather than prison staff/administrators.  Unsurprisingly, their complete surveillance and loss of privacy for even their most intimate moments is now mimicked by the surveillance our government directs at the American people themselves, their deaths hastened by lack of a meaningful opportunity for even the most rudimentary exercise necessary to sustain life. As social beings, they are effectively lobotomized, resulting in the loss of all social skills to the point of mental illness. Their conditions and existence are akin to the lowest levels of Dante’s Inferno, representing a corresponding debasement of even the tiniest glimmer of human compassion or morality–a wanton celebration/exultation of gratuitous suffering, pain, and cruelty.

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‘Home’ to Ramzi Yousef, who plotted the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center; 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui; “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski; and Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber

What would Tsarnaev face in Supermax prison?

‘Alcatraz of the Rockies': built to cut prisoners off from the world

by Ray Sanchez & Alexandra Field

When inmates arrive at the United States Penitentiary Administrative-Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, it immediately becomes clear — ADX, the the nation’s most secure Supermax prison, is built to cut them off from the world.

If Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is sentenced to life in prison, he’s likely to spend it in the ADX complex. If sentenced to death, he could be sent to the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, with other death row inmates. A federal jury in Boston will soon decide which sentence he gets.

The worst of the worst in America’s vast prison network are delivered to ADX, the “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” in buses, special vehicles, even Black Hawk helicopters.

Heavily armed patrols cruise the sprawling complex. A dozen imposing gun towers rise above squat brick buildings. Walls topped with razor wire partially block the snow-capped mountains.

“As soon as they come through the door … you see it in their faces,” former ADX warden Robert Hood said. “That’s when it really hits you. You’re looking at the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in the backdrop. When you get inside, that is the last time you will ever see it.”

“The Supermax is life after death,” said Hood, who served as ADX warden from 2002 to 2005. “It’s long term. … In my opinion, it’s far much worse than death.”

‘The architecture is the control’

Many of the more than 400 inmates spend as much as 23 hours a day alone in 7-by-12-foot concrete cells. Meals are slid through small holes in the doors. Bed is a concrete slab dressed with a thin mattress and blankets.

A single window about 42 inches high and 4 inches wide allows some natural light but is made so prisoners cannot see beyond the building. Cells have unmovable stools and desks made of concrete. Solid walls prevent prisoners from seeing other cells or having direct contact with other inmates.

“The architecture of the building is the control,” Hood said.

“You’re designing it so the inmates can’t see the sky. Intentionally. You’re putting up wires so helicopters can’t land.”

Inmates have little contact outside of guards and prison staff. They must wear leg irons, handcuffs and stomach chains when taken outside their cells — and be escorted by guards. A recreation hour is allowed in an outdoor cage slightly larger than the prison cells. Inside the cage, only the sky is visible.

“You’re passing hundreds, hundreds of cameras as metal doors are sliding open and closed,” Hood said.

Life in the H-Unit

Some cells have radios and black-and-white televisions offering religious, educational and general interest programs.

Mail and conversations are monitored at all times, the current ADX warden, John Oliver, testified at Tsarnaev’s sentencing hearing. Inmates at some point may be able to get prison jobs, such as cleaning showers, or move into the general population, Oliver said.

But the level of freedom a prisoner such as Tsarnaev would enjoy is ultimately determined only by the Justice Department and the agencies that investigated and prosecuted him, not the prison staff.

Tsarnaev would join other terrorists in the Special Security Unit, also called the H-Unit. These cells are reserved for inmates with DOJ-imposed Special Administrative Measures intended to strictly limit all communications with the outside world.

Only members of a prisoner’s legal team and immediate family are permitted to visit. Prisoners sit on the other side of a glass window. They speak over telephones. All personal conversations are monitored, but legal conversations and correspondence with attorneys are considered privileged and private.

Earning ‘the right to go to Supermax’

“ADX itself has … become almost entirely a ‘lock-down’ facility in which prisoners are locked in solitary cells for all but a few hours a week,” Amnesty International said in a 2014 report titled “Entombed: Isolation in the U.S. federal prison system.”

The Supermax is home to the prison system’s most violent inmates as well as convicted terrorists.

“They’ve been in jail. They’ve been in prison. They’ve killed staff. They’ve killed a visitor,” Hood said. “They’ve earned, if you will, the right to go to Supermax. … These are terrorists. These are disruptive gang members. They’re spies.”

A 2012 class action suit against the Bureau of Prisons said “years of isolation, with no direct, unrestrained contact with other human beings” leave some ADX inmates — particularly those with serious mental illness — with “a fundamental loss of even basic social skills and adaptive behaviors.” They “predictably find themselves paranoid about the motives and intentions of others.”

“Once placed into unrestrained contact with other, similarly impaired and paranoid men, the stress on prisoners — even those with no mental illness — can be extreme. Assaults and stabbings are common.”

Many ADX prisoners “interminably wail, scream and bang on the walls of their cells,” the lawsuit said. “Some mutilate their bodies with razors, shards of glass, sharpened chicken bones, writing utensils, and whatever other objects they can obtain. A number swallow razor blades, nail clippers, parts of radios and televisions, broken glass, and other dangerous objects.”

Coping — or self-destructing?

Some inmates have “delusional conversations with voices they hear in their heads,” the court documents said. Others spread feces, other human waste and body fluids throughout their cells or hurl it at correctional officers.

“I do know that when you put a person in a box for 23 hours a day and you tell them that’s the rest of your life, that each person has their own coping skills,” Hood said.

“When you see a person disrobing, throwing feces at a staff member going by — is that mental illness? Is that an issue where they’re self-destructing?”

At least six prisoners have committed suicide since ADX opened in 1994, the lawsuit said. Most of the suicides involved prisoners hanging themselves with bedsheets.

“Though I know that I want to live and have always been a survivor, I have often wished for death,” Thomas Silverstein, confined for more than 30 years in isolation, including nine in ADX, was quoted as saying in the Amnesty International report. “I know, though, that I don’t want to die. What I want is a life in prison that I can fill with some meaning.”

Laura Rovner, a University of Denver College of Law professor who has represented ADX prisoners, said reports of conditions at the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba compare favorably with some conditions at ADX.

“For many people being confined at ADX in what will amount to a life sentence there really is kind of a form of living death,” she said. “It just takes everything away from you. Your existence is limited to the four walls of this small cell and frankly not much else.”

The mentally ill and younger inmates are particularly vulnerable, Rovner said.

“This is a person who’s going to be vulnerable, who’s going to feel the isolation in ways that are more acute,” she said of Tsarnaev. “He’s presumably going to be alive for a long time. He’s looking at spending potentially at least the next 50 years in isolation. It’s almost unfathomable.”

Prisoners in the H-Unit rarely have access to less-restricted general population units, according to Amnesty International. In 2008, the prison instituted a step-down program for the H-Unit consisting of three phases lasting a minimum of one year — with each step providing limited privileges.

“If you’re the Unabomber and you have an advanced degree … and know multiple languages, you’re going to sit there and read most of the day,” Hood said of Kaczynski, who has been described by acquaintances as brilliant.

“But many of the inmates do not have the coping skills. They don’t have the reading ability. They don’t have the ability to be litigious. So there’s no outlet, that’s most likely the inmate who is going to throw feces at you.”

Prisoner advocates have found that some inmates, despite good conduct, spend years in H-Unit without progressing to the next phase because the Special Administrative Measures were not modified.

The World Trade Center terrorist

Ramzi Yousef is serving two life sentences plus 240 years for his role in two terrorist attacks, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people. He has spent more than 15 years in solitary confinement. He’s held in H-Unit under Special Administrative Measures and has spent more than two years on step 2 of the step-down program, according to Amnesty International.

Yousef, who has had a clear conduct record for at least five years, has worked as an orderly, which allows him out of his cell a few hours a week to clean other cells. Still, he has been denied access to step 3 and his Special Administrative Measures are renewed each year, the rights group said.

During the sentencing phase of Tsarnaev’s trial this week, Oliver, the current ADX warden, portrayed the Supermax prison in the best light possible, describing how inmates in the special security units can mail letters, exercise in their cells, talk on the phone for at least 30 minutes a month and even write books.

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Rochester 3 Accused of Abusing/Injuring Disabled Roommate

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Yolanda Whitten/Vega, Singer, Arts & Crafts at Home, ~52yo; related to Vickie Vermillion/Whitten, 64, & Robert J. Whitten, 68

by Amelia Dickson

Rochester, WA (5-12-15) — Three Rochester residents have been arrested for allegedly beating and starving their mentally disabled roommate.

Brandon A. Aquino, Yolanda Lynne Lonnie Whitten and Robert J. Whitten were arrested Friday, and are being held in the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of second-degree assault and second-degree criminal mistreatment. At a Monday court hearing, bail was set at $40,000 for Aquino and Yolanda Whitten, and $25,000 for Robert Whitten. [The identities of the parties involved and their relationship to one another as reported here by the Olympian may be in doubt.]

Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies began investigating the suspects March 20 after a neighbor reported seeing the victim being hit repeatedly in a Rochester backyard. Adult Protective Services contacted the victim, a 58-year-old woman with mental disabilities, who confirmed that she had been abused, according to court documents.

When a deputy arrived at the home, he noticed that the victim had two black eyes, bruising around her nose and was wearing a neck brace.

The deputy talked to Yolanda Whitten, who said that she lived in the home with her husband, Robert Whitten, and her brother, Aquino. The victim and Aquino had been in a relationship, and she continued living in the home after the couple broke up.

Yolanda Whitman said it had become difficult to care for the victim, and that they had resorted to punishing her by spanking her or making her stand in the corner, according to court documents. She also said that they prevented the victim from taking her medications because they believed the medicine would kill her.

The victim was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, where the deputy talked to her about the abuse. She told him she had lived in the home for at least a year, according to court documents.

The woman said she was wearing the neck brace because Aquino had grabbed her by the throat and slammed her into a wall so hard that a bone in her neck popped out. She said her roommates pushed the bone back in and gave her a neck brace.

When asked about the black eyes, she said her roommates made her stand in the corner when they believed she wasn’t “acting like an adult.” When she moved, they slammed her face into the wall. She also had bruising on her buttocks consistent with being hit with a wooden paddle.

Providence staff discovered that the victim had a broken nose as well as a broken neck, and she was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She underwent surgery to fix the broken vertebrae, according to court documents.

At Harborview, staff reported that the victim also was extremely malnourished.

The victim told the deputy that all three of her roommates had participated in the abuse.

Editor’s Note: On alternate online media, Yolanda Whitten says,

About: My name is Yolanda,and I was a lost child raised up in the system as a ward of the courts of the state of PA.I have been researching my biological fathers family,and they are the Thomas Family.I am also trying to find my half brother from my mother,and his name is Brandon Aquino.He is Alaskan Filipino from the Clinquet tribe.We also have a sister named Dolly Lucille Aquino.Brandon’s Dads name is Al Aquino who is a musician(Guitarist)Brandon would be about 42 years old by now.Brandon if you see this,please contact me.It’s urgent!!! this is Yolanda your sister.I love you!!!Hears my email: [contact link] .I’l give you my phone number# when I hear from you.OK? I hope to hear from you very soon!I REALLY MISS YOU!!!!!And I live in Rochester Washington now.And am now Married! (8 yrs. now)”

AND

Yolanda Whitten I am searching for a Beverly Lyndora Whitten whom is the daughter of my husband Robert James Whitten.Robert has not seen his daughter Beverly since she was 3 years old.At that time Robert was in the Army,and he and Beverly’s mother Bunny were divorced, and Robert never saw Beverly again.Robert has always loved his daughter Beverly,and he has always wanted to know her!But Bunny (Roberts ex-wife)and Bunny’s mother have made contact between Robert and Beverly impossible!!!The last place Robert saw Beverly was in Thunderbolt Georgia.Beverly’s Birthday is 8/06/70 I think.Any information on Beverly’s Whereabouts nowadays would be VERY APPRIECIATED !!!Please send your information to: ladyliberty1262@yahoo.com .Beverly’s Father would very much LOVE to hear from her!!!Sincerly,Yolanda Whitten P.S. Please Post This on your site for all to see! Thank You so much!!!”

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Let the Fire Burn: The Philadelphia MOVE Atrocity (5-13-85)

Proof we are too often governed by idiots..thugs or criminals in suits….To be responsible for what they did to Philadephia’s MOVE in 1985 and get away with it is worse than scary. At least half the local government should have been locked up and charged with terrorism….to deliberately burn down a city block, terrorize its inhabitants, kill innocent children and no one gets charged or goes to jail….It’s great–to be an American!

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The aftermath, photo by George Widman/AP.

by Abby Zimet

In what many deem “the pinnacle of police brutality” – and the only time the U.S. has bombed its own citizens – Philadelphia police 30 years ago today fired 10,000 rounds and many tear gas cannisters at a house holding the Black Power group MOVE, dropped an explosive on them from a helicopter, then infamously decided to “let the fire burn.” The ensuing conflagration killed 11 people, including 5 children, and destroyed over 60 houses. There were only two survivors: A woman who used the name Ramona Africa, and a 13-year-old boy Birdie Africa. A subsequent investigation and report called the police response “a criminally evil act.” Marking what is often viewed as a case study in policy failures by police, prosecutors and judges whose bloody legacy lives on today, no law enforcement was ever held accountable.

 The disastrous raid that incinerated the black working-and-middle-class neighborhood of rowhouses around Osage Avenue came after years of conflict between police and MOVE, a black radical “back to nature” commune formed in 1972; much of the antagonism stemmed from the 1978 killing of a cop in a shootout for which nine MOVE members were later and controversially convicted. Since then, the remaining MOVE members had holed up in a fortified house in West Philadelphia. When officials decided to evict them on May 13, 1985, over 500 police fired first teargas, then water hoses, then 10,000 rounds of ammunition before authorities ordered military-grade explosives to be dropped on the house from a helicopter. The bomb missed, and started a fire that quickly spread in the packed neighborhood. Despite the presence of the fire department and the reported 40,000 pounds of water they’d been blasting at the house, an executive decision was made to “let the fire burn.” It ultimately destroyed 61 houses, leaving over 250 people homeless. Amidst the smoky inferno, Ramona and Birdie Africa staggered barefoot out of the wreckage; one officer recalled, “It was like he came out of fire.”
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Much of what happened during the assault remains in dispute, including charges by the survivors that police fired on people trying to escape the flames. Not in dispute, according to hundreds of pages of documentation from both a MOVE Commission and subsequent Grand Jury investigation, was that the raid was an utterly disastrous “epic of governmental incompetence” perpetrated by all levels of law enforcement and government. Among the findings: “grossly negligent” police tactics, “excessive and unreasonable” firepower, “morally reprehensible behavior,” along with “incompetence” and “cowardice,” by the mayor and city officials, along with flawed intelligence, “an amazing leadership void,” “terrible misjudgment,” and the “unjustified homicides” of five children. “Dropping a bomb on an occupied rowhouse was unconscionable,” the Commission report concluded, with all but one member adding, “Police would not have done so, had the Move house and its occupants been situated in a comparable white neighborhood.”
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Astoundingly, despite the blistering criticisms, the grand jury cleared everyone involved – that’s everyone, from cops to mayor – of criminal liability. The city’s lawyers reportedly worked hard to make that happen; one of their most infamous arguments was that bombing children was not illegal because the force of the bomb “was applied only against” the adults. In the end, nobody – that’s nobody – was ever prosecuted. Oh, except one person: Ramona Africa was charged with conspiracy and riot, and served her entire seven years after she refused to renounce her MOVE membership. In 1996, she and other plaintiffs won a total $1.5m settlement from the city. Birdie, who became Michael Ward, died in 2013.

The raid’s 30-year anniversary is being commemorated by a march and rally featuring Cornel West, Alice Walker and other activists on the still-black but now mostly abandoned block where it took place. A resident describes today’s once thriving neighborhood as a war zone full of shootouts and drug dealers: “It’s hell living on Osage Avenue. We are ducking bullets and chasing prostitutes.” Again, the why is disputed. City officials say some residents have declined to accept the terms of a 2008 settlement, part of a class action suit against the city for sub-standard housing, so they can’t rebuild; residents say the city just wants to get rid of them so it can gentrify the area with white, high-income residents.

The MOVE debacle continues to haunt many in the city. Jason Osder, a white filmmaker who made the 2013 documentary Let the Fire Burn using almost entirely archival footage, sees it as “a parable of how the unthinkable comes to happen…Everyone who was an adult in the city failed that day.” Then as now, he says, it’s about race and class “every single day of the week.” Ramona Africa, now the only living MOVE survivor from that day, likewise links it to Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and all the rest. “These people that take an oath swearing to protect, to save lives – (the cops) don’t defend us. They kill us….It’s happening today because it wasn’t stopped in ’85. The only justice that can be done is people seeing this system for what it is.” And hopefully – see Baltimore – acting to change it.

MOVEbirdie

Birdie Africa. Photo by Michael Mally/Philadelphia Inquirer

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Push to End Prison Rape Loses Momentum

PassionStar

Passion Star, a transgender inmate at the Barry B. Telford prison complex in New Boston, Tex. The scars are the result of a slashing by a gang member that required 36 stitches.

by Deborah Sontag

New Boston, TX (5-12-15) — The inmate, dressed in prison whites with a shaved head and incongruously tender eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses, entered the visiting room with her wrists joined as if she were handcuffed. At 31, she had spent her whole adult life behind bars, and it looked like a posture of habit.

She introduced herself: “My given name at birth was Joshua Zollicoffer, but my preferred name is Passion Star.”

A transgender woman whose gender identity has been challenged by the Texas authorities, Ms. Star herself is challenging Texas’ refusal to accept new national standards intended to eliminate rape in prison, which disproportionately affects gay and transgender prisoners. Last spring, Gov. Rick Perry declared in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that Texas had its own “safe prisons program” and did not need the “unnecessarily cumbersome and costly” intrusion of another federal mandate.

Ms. Star, who says she is a victim of repeated sexual harassment, coercion, abuse and assault in Texas’ maximum-security prisons for men, disagrees.

PassionStar2

Ms. Star accepted a plea deal of 20 years on a charge of aggravated kidnapping, the same deal as her former boyfriend and co-defendant. He was released two years ago.

“Look, I got 36 stitches and have scars on my face that prove the prisons are not safe and the current system does not work,” she said. “Somebody needs to be intrusive into this state’s business. Because if somebody was intruding, probably these things would not happen.”

After decades of societal indifference to prison rape, Congress, in a rare show of support for inmates’ rights, unanimously passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003, and Mr. Perry’s predecessor as governor, President George W. Bush, signed it into law.

“The emerging consensus was that ‘Don’t drop the soap’ jokes were no longer funny, and that rape is not a penalty we assign in sentencing,” said Jael Humphrey, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, a national group that represents Ms. Star in a federal lawsuit alleging that Texas officials failed to protect her from sexual victimization despite her persistent, well-documented pleas for help.

But over 12 years, even as reported sexual victimization in prisons remained high, the urgency behind that consensus dissipated. It took almost a decade for the Justice Department to issue the final standards on how to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse in custody. And it took a couple of years more before governors were required to report to Washington, which revealed that only New Jersey and New Hampshire were ready to certify full compliance.

Sexual Victimization in Prison

Note: Some inmates reported experiencing victimization by both another inmate and facility staff. Mental health statuses were determined by screenings as a part of the survey.

*Rates for transgender inmates are combined estimates from three surveys since 2007 and have a 95 percent confidence level at +/- 6.3 percentage points and +/- 6.5 percentage points.

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